Monthly Archives: October 2013
The first time I was introduced to ceviche was almost eight years ago in a restaurant in Playa del Coco, Costa Rica.
“Gord, you can’t eat that! It’s raw fish. You’re going to get sick.”
I was so wrong!
This hugely popular Central American dish is made from fresh raw fish marinated in lime juice, and spiced with chili peppers. Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions and salt are also added.
Is ceviche cooked?
A dish in which raw fish is marinated in citrus juice, isn’t cooked. But it’s not exactly raw, either. Both heat and citric acid are agents of a chemical process called denaturation. In this process, the heat or citric acid changes the proteins in the fish, unraveling the molecules and altering their chemical and physical properties. When fish is bathed in citrus juices, this process of denaturation turns the flesh firm and opaque, as if it had been cooked with heat.
Ceviche spooned onto crackers with a dash of chile now happens to be one of my favorite appetizers. It’s a nice light tasty snack that is great for sharing.
If you enjoy fish (cooked or raw) and have yet to sample ceviche I high recommend you give it a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
Author’s Note: The dish shown in the photo is a shrimp ceviche that I enjoyed poolside at Rocamar restaurant in San Juan del Sur. Cost was C$110 ($4.40 USD).
Select calala that feels heavy for its size. If the skin on the fruit appears glossy yellow or green it is not ready to be eaten. Wait until the skin gets blotchy and starts to shrivel and wrinkle, like an old man’s skin. Even then the inside of the calala may still be yellow and quite sour. When calala looks almost spoiled on the outside the fruit on the inside will be vibrant orange in color and little bit sweet.
Flavor: The juice and pulp of calala is slightly sweet and very tart with a unique burst of citrus flavor. The seeds are surrounded by the pulp of the fruit and are meant to be eaten. They add a nice crunch and provide an incredible amount of fibre.
How to Eat It:
Calala is the one fruit where you eat the seeds and discard the skin. It is often used in juices and smoothies. When added to something very sweet like a banana and pineapple smoothie the calala’s acidity cuts through the sweetness an adds an incredible punch of citrus flavor. My personal favorite way to eat calala is to scoop the seeds and pulp into a bowl, add some natural yogurt, a banana and a handful of roasted cacao beans. The creamy, sweet, sour, bitter, crunchy combination of flavors and texture is amazing.
Passion fruit can be found year round, but high season for this fruit is October through February.
Like many fruits calala is high in Vitamin A, C and antioxidants. It is also incredibly high in fibre. Passion fruit offers a good dose of B vitamins, potassium and loads of minerals like iron, copper, magnesium and phosphorus.
The ugly appearance of the skin combined with the weird seedy goopy interior makes the calala one of the ugliest – but most delicious fruits – I eat. Having a calala is part of my daily ritual.
It’s Wednesday. Hump Day. For me, here in Nicaragua – it’s beach day.
With a cold Tona in hand I make my way across the hard packed sand towards the ocean. The sky is brilliant blue in color and scattered with a few big white fluffy clouds. On the horizon I can see the Costa Rican coast line.
My husband, Gordon and our Miniature Schnauzer Maggie are already engaged in a game of fetch. Maggie jumps over the crashing waves in search of her bright orange ball.
To my right four local guys are enjoying a game of their version of Nicaraguan street baseball. Back in the palapa our friend Paul watches over our stuff while waxing his surf board.
I wade into the warm Pacific waters that are just barely cool enough to be refreshing. I inhale the clean salt air. The heat of the afternoon sun on my skin feels good.
“Ahhh, it’s been too long since we’ve been to the beach, ” I say to Gordon. “And way too long since we’ve been to Playa Hermosa.”
After a quick rinse in the fresh water shower I make my way to a lounger to get comfortable with my book and work on my tan. Our friend Clint’s timing couldn’t have been better as he makes his way back from the beach bar with a round of cold refreshing Tonas.
As the sun starts to go down in a blazing orange ball we decide it’s time to pack up and take our short ride home. A shower, a change of clothes and dinner on San Juan bay seemed like a great way to end an already perfect day.
This Wednesday couldn’t have been more different than a Wednesday in my former life in Canada. Gone are the days of sitting at a desk in front of a computer for eight hours. Flips flops instead of heels? Much better!
As we finished our pasta dinners at an authentic Italian restaurant on the beach I felt a sense of calm. I was relaxed and satisfied. Tired, but not stressed.
I didn’t have to rush home to iron clothes for work the next day. I didn’t have to think about not wanting to wake up to the alarm clock in the morning.
I get to spend the next day and the next day and the next day…doing whatever I want to do…and for that…I’m grateful.
Although this colorful fruit is readily available in most grocery stores in Canada, before moving to Nicaragua we didn’t know what it was, nor had we tasted it. But now that we know how to eat it, it’s become a favorite!
To learn all you need to know about dragon fruit – otherwise known in Nicaragua as – pitaya continue reading below
Buying Guide: Look for bright, even-colored skin. Hold the dragon fruit in your palm and try pressing the skin with your fingers – it should give a little (like a ripe kiwi), but shouldn’t be too soft or mushy.
How to Eat It: Cut the dragon fruit in half. You can cut it into quarters like an apple and peel the skin off. Alternately you can spoon it out like you would a melon. It also tastes great in juices and smoothies.
Flavor: Dragon fruit has mild sweet flavor with tiny crunchy seeds similar to a kiwi.
Harvesting Season: Pitaya is only available in rainy season (June to November). The fruit grows on a type of cactus that climbs along rocky terrain, walls and often trees.
Nutrition: Pitaya is very low in calories and the seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids. It is high in calcium, vitamin A, C and antioxidants.
Interesting Fact: Pitaya makes your pee and poo electric pink.
With more and more people relocating to Nicaragua finding a desirable and affordable rental isn’t always easy. But if you’re persistent, avoid getting discouraged and follow these tips you might just find your perfect rental today!
POUNDING THE PAVEMENT:
Since most locals rent their homes by placing a small “SE ALQUILA” sign on the front of the house get out there every single day and walk the neighborhoods that you’re interested in living in. Properties commonly rent on a month to month basis – so beware – a home that was occupied yesterday may be available today and then gone tomorrow. Remember – you aren’t the only one pounding the pavement – the best deals come and go in the blink of an eye.
WORD OF MOUTH:
Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for rental. Talk to expats and business owners in the area. Post messages in forums and Facebook groups such as Expats in Nicaragua, Expats in San Juan del Sur. When we were looking for a long term rental in San Juan del Sur we talked to so many people there were times when random waiters at restaurants would approach us as we were walking by to tell us they had a friend or family member who had a place for rent.
Typically classified ads for long term rentals are posted by foreigners or computer savvy Nicas who expect a higher price for their properties because they know how to market. There are some good deals to be found through classified ads, but the very best opportunities are almost always found through word of mouth or pounding the pavement. Listed below are a couple classified sites that are worth checking out.
REAL ESTATE AGENCIES:
Although most real estate agents and property managers deal almost exclusively with highly priced, short term vacation rentals occasionally they do have a gem in their back pocket. On occasion they may have a few sale listings where the seller wants to rent out their home while they wait for a buyer. Visiting local real estate agencies is definitely worthwhile, but consider this option a long shot to finding your rental.
Posting boards are commonly found in bars, restaurants, corner stores, laundry mats, hostels, etc. and are also a good place to find rentals. It’s not uncommon for the business owner to have a home for rent, so don’t forget to enquire with the proprietor and his/her staff.
NEGOTIATE A SHORT TERM RENTAL INTO SOMETHING LONG TERM
If you find yourself searching for a rental during slow season and you’re willing to sign a long term lease you may just be lucky enough to negotiate a fair price on a short term rental turning into an affordable long term option. It never hurts to ask.
We are excited to be launching a new section on our blog titled, “Hot Deals: Real Estate” and we’re even more excited to be sharing these exclusive word of mouth deals with you, our readers.
To check out our current listings click on the link below:
Book mark this page and check back often. As soon the next great deal comes along you’ll be the first to know!